The Andy Hardy series won an Academy Award in 1943 for “furthering the American way of life.”
Synopsis of episodes 5-10
Out West with the Hardys (1938)
Dora Northcote, an old school friend now living out west, asks for legal help from Judge Hardy. It turns out that the old friend and her husband Bill live on a ranch and depend for water from a creek that flows downstream through a neighboring ranch. The contract they have with the neighbor H. R. Buxton specifies that Buxton must allow the water to flow through, but it does not set a maximum price that he may charge. Buxton’s price has become outrageous to where the Northcotes might be forced to sell their land.
Judge Hardy flies his family out to the ranch to see what can be done. Unfortunately, he can find no way to legally help his old friend.
Andy decides since he’s out west, it’s a good time to go whole hog and try the cowboy bit. He gets himself some exaggerated chaps and a ten-gallon hat. While he practices his bow-legged walk, his sister Marion is busy falling in love with Ray, a real cowboy. She changes her mind right quick, though, after she practices ranch-type chores for a spell.
Andy finds himself hanging around with Ray’s eight-year-old daughter Jake as played by Virginia Weidler. She teaches him a thing or two about roping, shooting, and horseback riding. Andy’s pride doesn’t let her know that he’s inexperienced so when he irresponsibly takes off on her horse, he has an accident which costs the horse a broken leg.
A remorseful Andy runs away after learning the horse has to be shot. He does return, and he has great hope. With him is a horse doctor who has had success with a method of keeping a horse off the ground while letting its leg heal. The horse is saved, and the Hardy’s return home to Carvel.
While unpacking, Mrs. Hardy shows him a souvenir that she brought back with her. It is a blanket with a map embroidered upon it. The map shows the ranch and surrounding territory, and it provides a favorable solution for the Northcotes to the water dispute.
The Hardys ride high (1939)
After Judge Hardy is shocked to learn that he has inherited two million dollars through his ancestor Colonel Leeds, he takes the family to Detroit to stay at the Leeds mansion to await a final court decision concerning the validity of the inheritance.
On the plane, Aunt Milly meets an eligible man who seems quite taken with her. Head in the clouds, even after landing in Detroit, she buys a new gown and invites him over for an evening. Poor Milly. It turns out that the man only wanted to sell her some real estate.
Andy’s Detroit adventure includes a nightclub outing with the extravagant Phil Westcott, adopted son of the deceased relative, who believes he is the rightful heir to the Leeds estate. Andy attracts a chorus girl named Consuela MacNish who lets him up into her apartment. As much as he wants to be a man of the world, Andy realizes he is out of his league and makes a dash out of there before Consuela can seriously work her charms. It’s a good thing, too, because Consuela was simply trying to help Phil find a way to discredit Judge Hardy.
Undaunted, Phil has a few other tricks up his sleeve, one of which sends the judge and his fish-out-of-water family back home to Carvel. Does that mean Phil is ultimately successful in cheating the Hardys out of what might have been?
We are encouraged that honesty is better than millions.
Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever (1939)
Two land speculators convince Judge Hardy that a piece of property he owns is valuable for mining. After he agrees to a partnership, he sets out to raise money from other investors for the venture. Anxious to be earn her own money, his daughter becomes a secretary for the two men at Judge Hardy’s expense. She learns that the men are swindlers and the land deal they made with her father is crooked. Her father has to confess to his wife that he lost all the money that was invested. However, he finds a way to more than pay everyone back.
While all this is going on, Andy has his own problems. After he finds his girlfriend Polly crushing on Ensign Charles Copley, he is down in the dumps until he meets Miss Meredith, a young substitute teacher for his drama class. As the follies of spring would have it, he becomes so enchanted with her that he decides to win her attention by becoming an ideal student.
When Miss Meredith offers an opportunity for the students to write a play for the spring production at Carvel High, Andy comes up with “Adrift in Tahiti,” a different twist upon the story of Romeo and Juliet. His play is selected, and he subsequently becomes producer and star. Polly is cast as the young star-crossed Tahitian girl.
Andy, almost 17 years old, decides he must quit school, get a job, and marry 23-year-old Miss Meredith. His hopes are dashed when he realizes she is engaged to another man.
He is through with women, but all’s well by the end of the movie. Light-hearted fun returns when Polly gives Mickey what he considers to be a quick kiss loaded with dynamite.
In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love. Lord Tennyson
Judge Hardy and Son (1939)
Happenings include a problem the judge has in helping the Valduzzi’s, an elderly couple. Mr. Valduzzi has lost his job, has no prospects, and is about to be evicted from his home. The judge recruits Andy’s assistance.
Andy needs to fix his car but is low on funds. By trying to win money in an essay contest, he ends up in hot water involving four girls.
Mrs. Hardy comes down with pneumonia, and her life is threatened. There is a touching scene with Andy praying for her.
Andy Hardy Meets Debutante (1940)
Judge Hardy goes to New York where he must resolve a lawsuit threatening their hometown orphanage. Andy, in an effort to impress Miss High Society, doesn’t realize that he needs more than $8 to dazzle anyone with his savoir faire.
Andy Hardy’s Private Secretary (1941)
Andy can’t graduate from high school because he flunked his English exam. He admits it to the class and lets them know he is resigning all his extra-curricular activities. His friends pitch in to help him re-take the exam. Andy gets a private secretary (Kathryn Grayson) to help him, which makes steady girlfriend Polly jealous.